Coopers*must not recognize automobiles as part of a human agency for he audaciously dropped for the kill just a few feet away from where I had parked.
I had just pulled into the driveway of our home and shut off the engine. Dozens of birds filled the ground and feeders. My eye caught his oval shape high up in the cedar tree among the azaleas. I watched him. They did not know he was there. Maybe the flurries had given him cover. Maybe he had been waiting.
Extending and then slightly curving the ends of his wings, he dropped onto a junco, killed it with one thrust of his beak and then cloaked it, bringing his wings together to hide it and raising his head above to look over the land. I had not moved a muscle. What would the junco have thought? That some sharp, tearing clot of snow had fallen upon him? Nothing, probably. Those talons would have made for quick work.**
He pitched up, the junco now a tangled web of feathers under him, and flew right past the passenger side window. For a splinter of time, he posed in the frame of the window, eyes forward, as intent as a javelin. My eyes followed him across the road and lost him in the tree line.